Horse Racing | Press Article 17/04/24

Stradivarius, with a 13lb weight allowance from the older horses, wins the Group One Qatar Goodwood Cup for trainer John Gosden and owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen.


Trainer John Gosden said: "Frankie controlled the race on Big Orange, he came up the middle, he didn't want to be attacked hard down the rail. It was clever of him, but our fella stays well.


"Andrea was very confident beforehand, I asked him if that was because he got in a muddle in the first and got the next two right?!  He said no!


"But it is full marks to Peter Shoemark, our racing office manager, he was the one who suggested the entry to me, I said are you mad?


"But I thought about it and thought hang on, actually he has to give weight with the Group Two penalty from the Queen's Vase win, and running in anything else such as the Voltigier or a handicap he's have the penalty. So, I thought you're right to come here and this is Peter's victory not mine.


"I did say good luck to everyone going in, Big Orange has got a huge heart and has run with credit again, but he was running into a three-year-old now and not the older horses, who is getting 13lb from him.


"Yes, last year, it would have been 16lb so it has changed, but full marks to the horse and owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen, who has put an awful lot into this game to get nice moments such as this, which don't come along very often.


"We go to the St Leger, which is a race that I love and it is one mile and six and a half furlongs around Donnie, which is probably a similar test as it is an open galloping track whereas here is all zig zags and bends.


"I am always frightened when you take on the older horses with a three-year-old in a race like this, I thought he'd run well and I could see him in the frame but not necessarily winning. He has a good turn of foot, which is a good weapon in a two-mile race.


"I don't think the three-year-olds have an enormous advantage - Enable is a brilliant filly and this is a proper stayer, you can't come and do it without a proper horse.


"He goes straight to Donnie, goes there nice and fresh."




Jockey Andrea Atzeni was beginning to make the Qatar Goodwood Festival his own after bringing up a stakes-race treble on the opening day.


After wins on Expert Eye and Breton Rock in Group Two contests, he went a stage further by landing the G1 Qatar Goodwood Cup on three-year-old Stradivarius. Victory on the 6/1 shot meant the treble rewarded punters, who were lucky enough to back it, at odds of 981/1.


Stradivarius beat the 6/4 favourite Big Orange by one and three-quarters of a length, with Desert Skyline (14/1) another three and a half lengths back in third.


Atzeni thought that he should have won the opening race too - he finished fourth on UAE Prince - saying: "I wish the first race had been the last race and I would have won that as well. There is a good race in him [UAE Prince]. Winning races is all about confidence, and in the first race you are trying to do well and it didn't quite work out.


"This horse [Stradivarius] was getting a lot of weight off Big Orange and is still improving. I don't think he knows how good he is - he's a little immature and still learning. He'll be better next year. He doesn't know he's a racehorse. The main plan was to keep away from Big Orange - you can't get near him because he's a fighter. You have to race away from him. At the two-furlong marker, he was ahead of me but not going away and I knew I had him.


"I got a great run up the rails and he picked up really well - it's lovely to win a Group One.


"I'm very lucky to work for very good people, especially Roger [Varian] and Sheikh Mohammed Obaid, and when I'm not riding for them I'm fortunate to ride for people like Sir Michael [Stoute] and John Gosden."


Qatar Goodwood Cup victory delights owner-breeder


Owner-breeder Bjorn Nielsen was delighted with his three-year-old Stradivarius, who has come on from winning the G2 Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot to capture the G1 Qatar Goodwood Cup from favourite Big Orange.


He said: "I was hoping he would run well rather than expecting him to - I didn't know how he would get on against older horses.


"He ran well in the G2 at Royal Ascot and we didn't want to run against the three-year-olds, having picked up a 5lb penalty, so John thought that this was the place to come.


"John knew that Stradivarius was a handy horse and he would stay the trip, so this is where we came as a prep for the St Leger (the final British Classic of the year at Doncaster on September 16).


"Stradivarius was on and off the bridle early on, and Big Orange had an easy lead, so I said that it would be tough to catch him. This horse stays and he wants to win.


"If he comes out of this race well, I expect he will go to the St Leger."




Big Orange, despite battling bravely, couldn't add a third G1 Qatar Goodwood Cup to his illustrious record.


The six-year old son of Duke Of Marmalade came home one and three quarter lengths second to the 6/1 chance Stradivarius.


Michael Bell, trainer of the 6/4 favourite, said after the race: "Interestingly enough, the weight-for-age scale has been altered this year and it is slightly less than it would have been this time last year, so give the winner a lot of credit.

"I am very proud with how Big Orange ran. He laid it down there, looked like winning and then the three-year-old came and got him. He has run his heart out on ground that is softer than ideal for him. Had it been rattling firm or summer fast ground, who knows? We are talking hypothetically.


"I am really proud because he gave his all and was beaten on the day by a horse that handled conditions better and arguably could one day be a better horse. Full credit to the winner, but I am equally proud of Big Orange.

"We wanted to make history and the horse is so well in himself. He has basically done everything but win - he was beaten by an unexposed three-year-old who won well at Royal Ascot. Let's meet him on level weights next year and see what happens.


"Big Orange is in the Irish Leger but I will talk to the Gredleys. He has had a hard race today - he looked tired. When he came in after Ascot, he didn't look tired but it is sapping ground today. The Irish St Leger is not until September 10 but I am not sure."


Frankie Dettori, added: "The ground maybe wasn't quite fast enough for him but he has run a great race.


Third home was the David Elsworth-trained Desert Skyline and the trainer said: "We were pleased or even relieved he ran so well. The weight allowance helped, but he is a progressive little staying horse and we felt it would be great fun to be here. The owners entered into the spirit of things - he had to be supplemented - and were justifiably rewarded."


3.35pm £523,000 Qatar Goodwood Cup (Group 1) 

(British Champions Series)


Two Miles


1 (5) Stradivarius (IRE) John Gosden 3yo 8st 8lb Andrea Atzeni 6/1

2 (11) Big Orange (Sheepskin C/P) Michael Bell 6yo 9st 7lb Frankie Dettori 6/4 Fav

3 (13) Desert Skyline (IRE) (Sheepskin C/P) David Elsworth 3yo 8st 8lb David Probert 14/1

4 (7) Wicklow Brave W. P. Mullins, Ireland 8yo 9st 7lb Jim Crowley 8/1

5 (10) She Is No Lady Ralph Beckett 5yo 9st 4lb James Doyle 33/1

6 (9) Pallasator Sir Mark Prescott Bt 6yo 9st 7lb Oisin Murphy 25/1

7 (12) Sheikhzayedroad (Hood) David Simcock 8yo 9st 7lb Martin Harley 10/1

8 (16) Us Army Ranger (IRE) (Hood) Aidan O'Brien, Ireland 4yo 9st 7lb Ryan Moore 8/1

9 (8) Sweet Selection (Blinkers) Hughie Morrison 5yo 9st 4lb Adam Kirby 33/1     

10 (3) Prince of Arran Charlie Fellowes 4yo 9st 7lb Stevie Donohoe 33/1

11 (14) Higher Power James Fanshawe 5yo 9st 7lb Tom Queally 20/1

12 (1) High Jinx (IRE) Tim Easterby 9yo 9st 7lb David Allan 66/1

13 (4) Qewy (IRE) (Sheepskin C/P) Charlie Appleby 7yo 9st 7lb William Buick 16/1

14 (2) Oriental Fox (GER) Mark Johnston 9yo 9st 7lb Joe Fanning 50/1       


14 ran

Non-Runners: DAL HARRAILD (Vet's Certificate, Lame), SIMPLE VERSE (Vet's Certificate, Pulled Muscle)


Winner owned by Bjorn Nielsen

Time: 3m 25.47s

Distances: 1¾, 3½, 3½, ¾, ¾, ½, ½, 3¼, 1, 3¼, 5, 2, 30

Breeder: Bjorn Nielsen

Breeding: ch c Sea The Stars (IRE) - Private Life (FR) (Bering)

Tote Win: £6.20 Places: £2.20, £1.10, £4.60 Exacta: £18.10


John Gosden -145 Goodwood winners (35 at Qatar Goodwood Festival)

Andrea Atzeni - 23 Goodwood winners (9 at Qatar Goodwood Festival)